Thousands attend second Beertopia festival of craft beers

Thousands gather at West Kowloon waterfront to try beers from more than a dozen nations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 6:58am

American comedian Steven Wright once said "24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?" He's obviously never attended Hong Kong's biggest craft-beer festival.

Beertopia 2013 took place yesterday at the West Kowloon waterfront and featured more than 200 different beers and a steady flow of food, live music, beer lectures and beer games.

Revellers enjoyed the inaugural festival last year, with the more than 1,700 attending drinking over 90 beers from around the world. This time more than 5,000 enthusiasts turned up, according to organisers.

Jonathan So, the event's promoter, first got things going because there was no craft beer festival in the city. Originally from Toronto, and having lived in New York for many years, So was surprised to discover the lack of diversity in the beer selection available in Hong Kong bars, as well as a general apathy towards the brew.

He said the goal of Beertopia was to provide an opportunity for people to taste and learn about quality beers they might not be aware of, and to do this in a fun and lively environment.

"There are food and wine events in Hong Kong that also include beer, but beer isn't given any significance," So, 30, said.

"By just keeping the emphasis on beer, hopefully the festival can help raise interest in craft beer here. It's a chance for Hong Kong to have a world-class craft beer festival to call its own."

The event last year was held at Western Market in Sheung Wan. It was so popular that people had to be turned away.

Because of this, So staged it at the much larger venue in West Kowloon this year, taking up about 70,000 sq ft.

The beers on show were from Britain, the United States, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Chile, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea, China and Singapore. Choices available included sweet fruit beers, chocolate stouts, coffee porters, hoppy imperial IPAs, red ales, brown ales, English bitters, German wheat beers, and Belgian Trappist ales. There was also a variety of ciders.

Beer lectures by visiting brewers proved popular, too.